Moving around Worcester city centre, photographing everyday life on its streets, Miles Pilling has captured a view of the people of our city that is unique.
An experienced photographer but with little time to get out and shoot, Miles’ life was turned upside down in 2014 when he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. After stopping work as a tv cameraman, he began using a mobility scooter to travel around the city and discovered there was a difference when taking photographs. ‘It was as if I was suddenly invisible, people didn’t seem to notice me’ he says.
This ability to photograph candidly, suddenly gave Miles the chance to capture powerful photographic images on the streets of Worcester. ‘The first picture I published on my blog is of a woman, looking very determined, leading a group through the city near the Guildhall’ he says. ‘This photograph was used in my first exhibition in the city and within three days I received an email from her daughter who said her mother had just passed away. I was concerned I had upset her, but no, she was really happy I’d captured this image and there was a much bigger story to tell. The woman in the scooter was called Rita. Many years before she’d been travelling in India when she came across an orphanage. She began sponsoring the education of a teenage boy, who eventually completed his studies and went on to set up a successful, international electronics company. It was him in the photograph, along with his family, walking behind Rita!’
A small exhibition of Miles’ photographs was held at Worcester Arts Workshop in March and April. It was very successful and more people came forward with the stories behind the images. The exhibition is now off to London where it goes on display this September at the Tabernacle Gallery in Notting Hill.
In the meantime, Miles is completing another portraiture project for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, which has included photographing all kinds of people including the singer and radio presenter Kim Wylde. He’s been invited to speak at an event held at the Royal Geographical Society and is using his work to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease.
The exhibition ‘Stronger Together’, with candid street portraits taken in Worcester, takes place at The Tabernacle Gallery in London from 11th to 17th September. Profits from the sale of any prints will be donated to the Motor Neurone Disease Association. You can read more at www.tabernaclew11.com